Igor Brossmann

* 1966

  • “Just a few days before the beginning of 1989, we were organising the Folk Winter Festival, and Ivan Hoffman had already been labelled persona non grata number one. Later, they told us that he couldn’t perform. I said: ‘Fine, if he can’t perform, he will be the host,’ because back then all the stuff had to be approved by the National Committee and who knows by who else. Then they told me that he couldn’t be the host either. I said that he would be a guest then. And again, they said no. Finally, they told me he wasn’t allowed to enter the doorway of the Mladá Garda dormitory. So I thought to myself: ‘Alright, if he can’t enter by the door, he’ll enter by the window,’ because my room was on the ground floor. I was trying very hard to get him in. During one conversation, Ivan told me: ‘Let it be, don’t worry. You’ll see, one day this dormitory will be called the Dormitory of Charter 77.’ A few days later, and this man is the main voice of the Revolution. He’s seen in squares, he’s on TV. Unbelievable!”

  • “On the evening of the demonstration on Národní třída street in Prague, I found myself in a pub in a small village called Nový Život (‘New Life’ in English) Everyone was speaking Hungarian, I don’t understand a single word in Hungarian. There was footage of the demonstration on Hungarian TV, while there was nothing yet on the Slovak channels. Everyone was drinking beer and having shots. Nobody paid attention to the TV; it felt like some surrealist movie. I was staring at the screen; I saw the police beating some people. I saw that the footage was from Prague, but I couldn’t understand the commentary and nobody cared to explain it to me. Nobody cared about what was going on. That’s how my ‘new life’ began."

  • “On one occasion, we made sculptures of people and hung them on trees, but it was just for artistic purposes, as a happening. And I remember how they woke me up at 3 a.m. and they told me to take the sculptures down, because comrade Gorbachev was about to pass by, and it was unacceptable to have people hanging from trees. And then they asked us who told us to do it. During one interrogation, I invented a fictional character, someone like Cimrman , and I said: ‘It was Viktor, Viktor asked us to do it.’ And the gentleman interrogating me finally smiled, happy that he had made me talk, and on a Soviet cast-iron typewriter branded ‘Jantár’, he typed: ‘Viktor asked them to do it.’ And he was satisfied. I realised that we could blame whatever we did on this fictional character and we would be safe. Since then, I would always give them the same answer and they would put it down in their report.”

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    Martin, 21.10.2019

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The Velvet Revolution found him in the village of Nový Život

In the college Mladá Garda (1986)
In the college Mladá Garda (1986)
photo: archív pamätníka

Igor Brossman was born on 30 June 1966 in Bojnice. In 1975, the Brossman family emigrated to West Germany to live with their relatives who had been evicted by the Beneš Decrees. However, they returned quickly as they realised that they would have probably never been able to come back. In 1986 during his university studies, Ivan and his friends from the Mladá Garda dormitory created a fellowship, later called Wiktor, and they organised concerts, parades, happenings, and so on. During the Velvet Revolution, he became the leader of the strike committee at the second biggest faculty in Slovakia. He graduated in 1990 from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Slovak College of Technology (now the Slovak University of Technology) in Bratislava. In 1990 he and his friends founded an advertising agency called Wiktor Leo Burnett, and he became its Chief Executive Officer. He is a co-founder of the biggest charity organisation in Slovakia (Dobrý Anjel). He was the president of the Club of Advertising Agencies of Slovakia, and he also works in political marketing.